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Shh

Shh let’s not say it,

it hurts but why express it.

its killing me and you,

but the roads were different for our blues.

let’s not think it too hard,

because its not approved until its an Archies’ card.

 

Shh lets wipe off those tears,

it doesn’t matter, those years.

that my shoulder was once your home,

but suddenly its an abandoned zone.

Was my love not enough?

or his or his or ruff?

 

Shh stop it already,

lest it be known to the wary,

that its as absurd to me as them,

that you left me in absolute mayhem,

without a message or a note,

you left me with a tragic anecdote.

 

– For Vijoy

Aside
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We Sell Experiences

We sell experiences,

We sell love in a jar,

travel to places afar,

teach you to appreciate nuances,

surprises by the instant.

We sell experiences,

to people far and near,

strangers who suddenly become dear,

not afraid of the distance,

seamless, endless without hindrance.

We sell experiences,

taste food from lands unknown,

reap of what others have sown,

get service without the petulance,

without lifting a finger hence.

We sell experiences,

but prepare to be broken,

prepare to do things best left unspoken,

prepare to do the dance,

cannot avoid the askance.

We sell experiences,

Afraid, it’s not much of a choice,

and you would leave none the wise,

the effort on this appearance,

will make you want the interference.

1

The Floating Mountains

It was not a good idea to wear shorts. The brambles and the prickly thicket did not care much for preteen fashion. We were climbing up a random hill in Renuka, Himachal Pradesh around ten years ago and thorns were making themselves comfortable with my skin. When we had left the guest house(the only one in that area at that time), I felt quite dapper in my navy blue t-shirt and khaki shorts. I felt like an explorer. Indiana Jones probably smiling under his Fedora. But then as we set out towards the trail that we were supposed to be taking, we noticed a village lad climbing up a path. We took this road less traveled.

Ten minutes into this expedition and the slippery sheath and prickly bushes made me lose the Indiana Jones in me and turn into Fredo Corleone from Godfather II. The trail was steep and difficult especially if you are often associated with a cow, pig or any such being not known to lithe. Soon we reached this young lad who had stopped at a clearing, turned out he was as young as the mountain. The life of a hillbilly can do wonders for your waist and skin (as long as you learn to avoid the thorns).

I kept whining as we moved further up against the recommendations of the not so young lad. The closest interpretation of what he said in Pahari would be, “You are too fat for this trail.” I didn’t even need this discouragement. The heat and the thorns had done their business.

We did reach the top but I felt that I had no energy to enjoy the view which was indeed amazing. So I sat there with a grumpy face. All I could think was about the way back. I took a deep breath as we started our climb down.

We came across a village school which had just been let out. A young school teacher came out and was leaving for home. He looked like he was in his 20’s. But looks can be deceiving in the hills. He was wearing a crisp white shirt with navy blue checks and ink blue trousers. His hair oiled and set to perfection. He had kind eyes and a kind smile to match underneath his thin neat mustache. These features are quite common in Himachal. He asked us if we were headed to the town and if so if he may join us.  We gladly obliged. I have a feeling my parents themselves had no clue of the way back.

I don’t remember how Mr. Prim Mustache ( what I decided to call him) made me feel absolutely at ease and extremely chatty. It seemed like a blink of an eye and we had reached at the foothills. I wasn’t tired. Instead I felt charged up. I saw my parents were still huffing and puffing their way down ( the first and only time I beat them in a trek). We parted ways with Mr. Prim and went to Renuka lake after which the town has been named. As I dipped my feet in the mystic waters of the lake, tens of fish came teeming to my feet. It was as if they were kissing a welcome to my feet.

Strangers are always advised against but this tiny hamlet was all about the Indian phrase – “Athithhi Devo Bhavva” ( Guests are God). From the village school teacher to the fish, Renuka is all about hospitality.
Renuka also made me ponder on negativity and positivism. Was there any? Is there a depletion of resources or just a transformation? Maybe it is not about yin and yang, but the void in between. Maybe utopia need not be created as it already exists shrouded by the yin and yang of our perception. There is no end to capabilities, it is merely veiled by the limits of our motivation. The veil may be made of iron or lace depending on the level of motivation, perseverance and dedication one has. The mystical connotation to luck boils down to the permutation of certain hard to measure parameters.

The villagers say that the hills of Renuka are actually floating on the lake and not encircling it. Maybe we should just keep the magic alive. Let the illusion find its reality.

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Image from the web

1

Anatomy of a Forbidden Giggle

When its all hush hush,
Trying to explode out of you that rebel
that deviant little giggle,
Like wild hair which hasn’t met a brush,
You try to tame it but,
Plans of its own it has
You are going to get into trouble lads and lass,
You  feel through your stomach it will pierce out a shortcut.
Before you know it, its gushing out of you,
That horrible feeling of embarassment,
with a relief so pleasant.
The stares in lieu.
The anatomy of a forbidden giggle,
quite magical.

5

Metaphorically Me

Very few people actually try figuring themselves out. Most accidentally run into themselves. Those who dare to find themselves. There are very few of them. I am not  part of either I would say.But I do have some glimpses to myself. Like a trailer to a hopefully not boring movie.So here it goes. Me

Smile

Toothy and dimpled. Miles is not the kind to get lost in a crowd. He is the kind, you notice in a crowd.  He makes it look that its easy. Miles recalls the times when it was easy. He took it for granted. But then he came across a dark period where he was unable to stretch even a little. He learnt some things that time. He is better now. Even when it is really bleak, he knows he has to give it all. And he does. No he is never fake. Even when it is difficult, he just enjoys it. Not because its a great day, great week or even a great year. It is because it doesn’t have to be great to smile. But the smile can make it great. Miles can.

A Broken Flower

Busy , busy, everybody looks so busy. But well Lily has to be bright and vibrant regardless of whether anybody notices or not. That is just who she is. But oh boy that man on the cellphone, he looks occupied and he is headed straight towards her.

There was no noise when he banged into her. He probably thinks its just a bump. But she is broken. There is barely any of her left. He turns back, gives an unconcerned apology and rushes off. Her cries of pain are muffled by her small frame. If a flower cries, but nobody sees, did it even cry? Lily knows all too well. She wishes the fellow some luck with whatever it was that made him so. She says to herself.

”I barely have a petal or two left, time will heal me. But I am going to be me and well maybe nobody will notice my wounds.”

Till this day. Nobody has. Lily will never be known as a victim. She will always charm you out of that disposition.

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An Unread Book

Charlie has been on the bookshelf since he was bought. When he was leaving his other friends at the bookstore, they all wished him luck. They said, have a full life! Stretch yourself out! Lose a page or two! May you be all dog eared and torn!

But Charlie is still in the cellophane cover he was wrapped in. Every time somebody comes towards the bookshelf, he was praying to be picked. One day he was picked. But only to be kept back.  He lost most of his self esteem there. ”Am I not worth it?” He thought. However now he prays that someone would read him and not just pick him up. Its not like he is one of those fat dusty books, then why does nobody want to read him? He fears that there is algae formation on his back. But atleast that way he will break from his cellophane cage.

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Movie Stub

Eric loves the movies. He knows everything about them. Today he is exceptionally happy because he is finally going to enter the movie hall. Today he gets to be a movie ticket. He had been safely kept in a drawer just for today. He is transferred into a wallet. As he gets closer to the cinema, his heart beats faster. He is being taken out. His heart might just leave his chest.

Eric spends two amazing hours in sheer awe. But good things come to an end.

”Wait a minute?! You cant just dump me like that.” Eric is anxious. Then another movie ticket tells him, “Kid the show is over. Now you are just a stub. You didn’t expect it would go on forever did you now? ” Eric does not respond. He doesn’t want to admit its over yet.

The Earrings

Delilah and Layla, they are the quite some girls, these two. Little old school but not left behind in any sense. When they are on an ear each, they make people turn and look. Some days they just lie around listless. They say its worth the wait. When they do finally get to head out they take in all that they can. They are peppy and sassy these two. Don’t let their old world look fool you. These sisters will have you all wrapped up before you even know it.

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Shoes

Jen and George. Don’t let them start talking. you will never hear the end of it.They can never stay still. Always in search of a new adventure. Thus they always have way too many stories to tell. It is quite a chore to put these two to rest.

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I am but only a metaphor.

I will not be something someone has already become,

nor will anyone ever be what I am.

I am more than what I can say

and less than what I will be some day.

I am what you see,

I am what you didn’t see.

I am but only a metaphor.

1

Home of the Nomads

There is no place like home. A phrase used quite often. The United Nations Human Rights Commission stated that around 100 million people in the world have been classified as homeless. This homelessness is based on the parameter of having a roof over one’s head. For all those children and adults suffering from abuse and domestic violence home is not where they live either.

There is no place like home indeed. But what is home is left to one’e own personal definition. It cannot be restricted to walls and roofs or any other tangible structure. Then what is home?

For me its a manifestation of utmost comfort. Some don’t realise they were home until they leave it. Others don’t realise they were never home until they leave it. Home is a state of mind then. The shade of a lonesome tree becomes home and the safety of a fortress ceases to be one. What is worse is when the home you had once loses its homeliness.

In that context I think I would rather be a nomad or a gypsy who live as they go. The road is their home . It doesn’t matter if things don’t turn out that good, they can always find another home. Are they escapists? No. They are just adaptive. They might not let their roots grow deep, neither do they let setbacks stop them.

Maybe we should all be nomadic. Harness the camels of our imagination and set out and find that elusive peace of mind. If nothing else we will always have the road.

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Preface

Pets. Most of us have them. It might be a regular cat or a dog or it might be chattel of a dangerous kind like a reptile. Given the regular functions of a pet, even some humans are known to carry out the same. Some of these humans are called spouses. This does not imply that all spouses are pets neither are pets, spouses.  But it is a practice all the same.  A friend once told me she would gladly swap places with the pet of the house. Oddly love thy animal said no religious text ever.  Take care, yes. But love. Nope. Then what is this strange bond that binds interspecies?

My first pet, a dog named Remo, was gifted to me on my 3rd birthday. I don’t have any memory of him. Pictures suggest that we were close. My mother states to the contrary. Apparently Remo was often spotted hiding under the dining table to evade my tyranny. Remo didn’t stay my pet long. He gladly shifted to another home soon enough. He changed two households after that. I wonder whether he missed my benevolent monarchy then. My feelings at that point are unrecorded.

My second pet was a kitten we named Bilquis – An utterly boring feline in comparison to those owned by my friends. Maybe the fact that she was a few days old was the reason. Her mother left her in our balcony and we took her in from there. I was just beginning to get a sense of pet-ownership when her mother claimed her.  My brother scares me by saying that the cat who took her was probably going to eat her. Not a consoling thought. I had nightmares for some time.

Staney was my aunt’s dog. He stayed with us for a month. But in that one month I probably made the strongest connection with any animal I had come across including my brother. From the annoying bully at school to my best friends and our fights, I told him everything. He was the most patient listener I have ever come across with woofs in appropriate places. I wish I could keep him forever. He had to go back home eventually. But I am never going to forget him and I know neither will he.

So I had never had a pet successfully for over a month. I doubt any human would want to take up the opportunity either. So Toopie was born in a Bistro in Koramangala, Bangalore. I would name the bistro to those who ask me personally. He is purple, yellow, green and orange. He is the easiest pet. Only scary thought is if he breaks. He is made of clay you see. But I carry him with me wherever I go. He seems like a new chapter in my life.  He loves to travel, eat, listen to music and he thinks he needs to lose weight. I was recently asked whether he is a personification of me. All coloured on the outside and hollow inside. Maybe. But then aren’t we all glazed colourful turtles. Painted in colours of the visualiser and born with hollows which we fill with our experiences. Toopie isn’t hollow either. He has adventures and he might just share.